In the previous decade, fans who tuned in to the unique superhero series “Smallville” on The WB (2001-06) and its successor The CW (2006-11) felt that the show, about a young Clark Kent coming into his power and growing up to be Superman, helped define the place of superheroes in live-action TV. Come the following year, another TV adaptation of a DC superhero premiered on The CW. “Arrow” starring Stephen Amell elevated the concept of a non-super-powered crime-fighter on the small screen, that it became the foundation of The CW’s “Arrow-verse” franchise. Eight seasons later, the show came to an end just this past Tuesday.
Airing January 28 on The CW, the series finale for “Arrow” showed more of how the primary setting of Star City has changed following the “Crisis on Infinite Earths” crossover that Oliver Queen/Arrow (Stephen Amell) died (twice) to resolve. In what feels like a time-honored tradition among multi-season long-running TV shows, the final episode “Fadeout” according to E! News Online features the return of many early-season characters that have either left the show by write-off or storyline death. The latter being undone is easily explained by the post-Crisis changes to the multi-verse; combining the worlds of the “Arrow” shows, “Supergirl” and “Black Lightning” makes several resurrections seem tame in comparison.
That said, it looks like all members of the Queen family that could be brought back are together again in the wake of Oliver’s death, with Moira Queen (Susannah Thompson) even adopting her late husband’s illegitimate daughter Emiko (Sea Shimooka). Those are the prominent resurrections by the way, alongside the Black Canaries’ dad Quentin Lance (Paul Blackthorne). Thea Queen (Willa Holland) gets her happy ending with fellow “living” returnee Roy Harper (Colton Haynes) after the latter proposes. They are also present for Oliver’s funeral alongside his many super-buddies and frenemies.
Finale writers Beth Schwartz and Marc Guggenheim manage to justify having Amell return in costume as Arrow by having a flashback sequence circa season 1, which ties into the present-day season 8 timeframe when the criminal Oliver was pursuing then (originally killed but revived post-Crisis) returns for vengeance on the relatively happy Queen Family and Team Arrow. Thankfully Oliver’s daughter Mia (Katherine McNamara) was visiting from the future courtesy of the Legends, so she foils that post-arc threat pretty easily.
Seeing as the creative team have set up the ending of “Arrow” to introduce some future plot hooks for the other shows in the franchise (and backdoor-pilot the “Green Arrow and the Canaries” spinoff), it was expected that some great parting shots will be delivered as the episode winds down. For example, longtime Arrow ally John Diggle (David Ramsey) encounters a crashed meteor with a box containing something green, a possible tease of a Green Lantern ring. But the real meat of emotion was the circa 2040 reunion between Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) and the long-dead Oliver in the afterlife courtesy of the Monitor (LaMonica Garrett). It seems a rather mundane afterlife for the founding father of the “Arrow-verse,” but it also feels fitting.
While it is unfortunate that ratings for “Arrow” season 8 episode 10 “Fadeout” was a ratings slump of only 723,000 viewers (or 19% lower than last week’s “Livin’ in the Future/Green Arrow and the Canaries”), analysts only remark that this is due to the general decrease in TV viewers watching broadcast, preferring later-date streaming or viewing of recordings. On that note, it is still an epic conclusion to “Arrow,” the “Smallville” of this decade for DC superhero TV, and the franchise it birthed on The CW will continue on still.
Image courtesy of Comic Book.com